Contributing Monkie Barbara
Published on August 9, 2010
Photographer Barbara Radojlovic
So I’m thinking.., “I deserve a treat…a cake….and a big one too.” Food is my biggest reward. My admiration and desire for colors and tastes is too great and impossible to neglect. I have no doubt that if I were to give up gourmet foods, the resulting hunger would spiral me into an irreversible depression. This is why I take culinary moments, especially involving cake, and turn them into physical and emotional celebrations.
Browsing through my memory on what used to be my priorities in life and comparing them to my current lifestyle, I quickly find even more reasons for celebration. My life used to be all about getting the right job, surrounding myself with successful people and being at every important event there was. Despite being successful in all of the above endeavors I found myself driving with my car back home thinking, “Why do I still feel so empty?”. My curious and somewhat stubborn personality wouldn’t rest until I fully explored the questions of what would truly make me happy. It took some time but I found the answers, all of those being in healthy lifestyle with vegan and raw foods. Despite being where I am right now, I still believe my youth was necessary for me to grow and looking back I would have not changed a thing. However, searching for happiness in nightlife, clubbing and attaching importance to ego-based matters did not fulfill my needs for internal happiness. It certainly gave me a focus on myself which prompted me to explore my needs in great depth. This doesn’t mean I became isolated, it just means I now know how to take time for myself and truly spend it in peace and tranquility. I learned how to appreciate nature, observe and enjoy the scents of cherries, mangoes, peaches, apricots, passion fruit and all other wonderful fruits of nature. They empower me to feel youthful, confident, wholly and most importantly they keep me healthy. I now take time when driving with my car to observe nature, fields of greens, valleys of grasses which calms me and leaves me with feeling of content and allows me to see the true essence of nature’s beauty. With my passion for healthy vegan and raw food I have touched and changed some people’s lives, as well as my own. I spend a good portion of time in day thinking about new gourmet – stylish looking recipes that would bring intrigue and interest in people’s lives so they would too join me on the journey of the eco and animal friendly lifestyle of healthy foods.
And so today I celebrate; I celebrate the simple fact of life. My beloved boyfriend brought home some super ripe apricots which we both adore. Of course it did not take any convincing for me to prepare a delicious and refreshing cake out of them. Who would have thought that with a help of simple thing like apricots and a great support from my boyfriend I was able to establish a mini business in raw and vegan foods in our beautiful country Slovenia. It makes you think anything is possible, right?
So now I invite you to find your own reason for celebration and take the biggest spoon you can find and dig into my summer apricot cake to enjoy your guilt-free moment with me!
For the Crust
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup soft dates (pitted)
4 Tbsp raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp agave syrup
A pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt
For the Creamy Vanilla Layer
1 + 1/3 cup cashews
¾ cup almond milk ( sweetened with dates)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp agave syrup
1/3 tsp bourbon vanilla powder
½ cup + 4 Tbsp coconut oil ( melted)
For the Apricot Layer
2 cups apricots (pitted)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup + 1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 tsp bourbon vanilla powder
1 cup water, mixed with 1 tsp agar-agar (powder)
Instructions for the crust:
1. Mix all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and process to achieve a dough texture.
2. Gently press dough into 7” Springform pan and set aside
Instructions for the Creamy Vanilla Layer:
1. Mix all the ingredients except for the coconut oil in a high speed blender to achieve smooth and creamy consistency.
2. Then add melted coconut oil and blend again to incorporate.
3. Pour the first half of Creamy Vanilla Layer over the crust and save the other half for the topping.
4. Chill in a freezer until firm ( approximately half an hour)
Instructions for the Apricot Layer:
1. Process all the ingredients, except for the water mixed with agar-agar in a food processor, leaving some texture.
2. Add another three pitted apricots and pulse again.
3. Now prepare agar-agar. Mix 1 tsp agar-agar in water and boil for 5 minutes.
4. Add to apricot mixture and pulse to incorporate.
5. Then pour over the chilled Creamy Vanilla Layer an then chill in a freezer for another hour, until firm.
Instructions for the Topping :
1. Pour the second half of the Creamy Vanilla Layer over the chilled apricot layer and chill in a freezer or refrigerator until fully firm. If you will be chilling it in a freezer, your torte will be ready just in a few hours.
2. Garnish with raw cacao powder.